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The greatest distance between two people

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They’d stopped it for a reason.

They’d started it for a reason too. It’d been inevitable, really, with the character bleed and the grueling schedule, and the one too many breakdowns in shared rooms, into arms as ready to support each other as their characters’ had been. It’d been one thing into another, and suddenly, the chemistry onscreen matched that offscreen, and all of that faded in contrast to the light in the world when the cameras were off, and they were alone and it was just Wang Yibo and the vast eternity full of Xiao Zhan, and the worlds he created with him and for him.

It’d been an exhausting summer, but Wang Yibo couldn’t remember another where he’d laughed quite so much or talked quite so freely or teased quite so easily. They’d riled each other up like they were born to do it, and brought each other back again just as effortlessly – and afterwards, they’d said goodbye, and Yibo’s world had felt muted.

Then the press tour – and Xiao Zhan, Xiao Zhan, Xiao Zhan – in every breath, every moment, everywhere – and they’d fallen back into each other as naturally as breathing the moment their eyes had met again.

And afterwards, they’d said goodbye.

When they’d said goodbye to their characters, they’d said goodbye to each other.

It made sense. They were both so busy, their schedules almost never coincided. The messages they sent each other were mostly of interesting pictures, an anecdote here and there, discussing their schedules and making vague attempts at meeting up that never happened. Sometimes, they just sent each other funny gifs, and every time, Yibo felt that void in him, ever-present, ever-waiting.

He still doesn’t like to sleep alone – he doesn’t like to be alone – but it feels worse, somehow, now that he’s known what it’s like to not be.

But there had been reasons, and they’d said their goodbyes.

Which is why Wang Yibo feels like he might be going a little insane when Xiao Zhan sits down next to him and Wuji starts conveniently playing in the background.

He’d been trying so hard to appear normal – but than Xiao Zhan had just… done that little finger snap he always did whenever he wanted Yibo’s attention, and Yibo had found everything in his body swaying in Xiao Zhan’s direction.

Then Wuji starts playing in the background, complete with Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji montage on the big screen – alternating with the live feed that just kept focusing on the two of them, sitting there, barely enough time to reconcile that they’re sitting next to each other – and now trying not to cry.

Yibo really wants to cry. For a variety of reasons. The least of which is not the fact that Xiao Zhan looks over at him and gives him that devasting smile, and Yibo’s entire world tips towards him.

He finds himself shifting closer, trying to catch every word, every sound, every breath – anything and everything Xiao Zhan will give him, anything he can take – because every single moment feels like it’s wrapping around him, filling in the void in his overly dramatic soul.

“What are you doing on the 28th?” Xiao Zhan asks.

“What am I doing? Today is the 28th?” Yibo replies, and the smile – the laugh – he gets in response, the wistfulness he also hears in Xiao Zhan’s voice makes him wish he could take those words back, take this day back – wish they could have spent it together even though it’s the stupidest wish he’s ever made because Xiao Zhan literally just flew in, and Yibo got in only in time to practice at 3am last night.

This is why it had made sense to stop. To say goodbye.

But Yibo’s heart, traitorous thing that it is – and maybe even his body, his face, his smile, his eyes – is not listening. All every single part of Yibo wants is to be closer for as long as Xiao Zhan – time, fate, destiny, the world – whatever, but ultimately, Zhan-ge – will let him be.

And Zhan-ge lets him be. Yibo can feel him shuffling infinitesimally closer with each passing moment, with each little movement to adjust his blazer, he’s getting that much closer to Yibo, and Yibo’s entire being yearns to do the same.

The moment they’re alone – the moment the doors to the changing rooms swing shut so they can get ready for their performances – Yibo reaches for Xiao Zhan, only to find Xiao Zhan already in his space, pulling him closer by his lapel, other hand possessive on the back of his neck as Xiao Zhan kisses him like he’s drowning.

They break the kiss only to breath, but Yibo’s not ready to pull away. Instead, he trails his mouth down Xiao Zhan’s neck, feels the start of a moan and clasps a hand over Xiao’s Zhan’s mouth to stop him, letting it reverberate between them instead, breath against skin, as Yibo presses his own sound against Xiao Zhan’s Adam’s apple. He feels it move under his lips as Xiao Zhan swallows hard, eases his grip on his mouth even as he stays close, pressing soft kisses against Xiao Zhan’s neck, just breathing him in.

“Yibo,” Xiao Zhan says, and Yibo muffles his reply against hot skin too. He doesn’t want to pull back, doesn’t want to hear reason, doesn’t want anything but this moment – here, together – just the two of them. There’s a world waiting outside – there’s a reality where they’ve both said goodbye, and Yibo doesn’t want it.

“Bo-di,” Xiao Zhan tries again, tugging lightly at Yibo’s hair, and this time – reluctantly – Yibo lets himself be pulled back. Xiao Zhan has a hand under his jacket now, and Yibo’s trying to convince himself that that can’t be a bad sign, right? Xiao Zhan wouldn’t – he just wouldn’t – tease Yibo like that, but he also suspects that the touching is almost unconscious, reaction to proximity, to not seeing each other for so long after something so intense between them – that it’s Xiao Zhan trying not to but unable to help himself. His touch has that sort of wistful, longing feel to it – like the way Yibo touches Xiao Zhan in his dreams when Yibo knows he’s about to wake up.

“What is it?” he says, when Xiao Zhan says nothing, only helps Yibo slide his jacket off, uses his grip on Yibo’s shirt to pull him into another kiss. Yibo melts into it, kissing back, feeds his moan of pure relief, pure pleasure, pure want against Xiao Zhan’s lips – and abruptly, Xiao Zhan pulls away.

“We can’t,” he says, and Yibo lets out a whimper – it’s desire, disappointment, pleading all in one sound – and Xiao Zhan’s expression softens immediately, touching gentle against Yibo’s face. “Not here.”

“Zhan-ge,” Yibo practically pleads.

“Listen,” Xiao Zhan says, pressing another painfully soft kiss against Yibo’s lips. “Listen. Not here, Yibo.” Another kiss, stopping the protest from even thinking about leaving Yibo’s lips. “Not here. I’m not saying no.” Another soft kiss, this time like Xiao Zhan can’t help it. “I’m definitely not saying no to you.” Yibo thinks he makes a sound like he’s maybe dying. Apparently, he can’t help but be overly dramatic when it comes to Xiao Zhan.

Xiao Zhan, who lets out a soft, breathless laugh. “Later,” he promises, and seals that with another kiss before pulling back with an effort. “When you’re done dancing, and I’m done singing, and we’re done smiling for the camera, we’ll go somewhere.”

Xiao Zhan gives him another one of those irresistible smiles, and Yibo smiles back helplessly. “Later,” he agrees – but he reels Xiao Zhan in for another hard, messy kiss anyway, nipping at his lower lip, knowing it’ll leave just enough of a mark to satisfy Yibo’s need to see his claim on Xiao Zhan.

Just enough.

He fights the urge to do more, to make it more prominent, more obvious – makes himself pull back and step away. “Later,” he says again, and is stupidly pleased to see Xiao Zhan staring at him, eyes dark with desire – and lip curling up in soft promise. He watches Xiao Zhan flick his tongue out to touch it to the small nip at his lip, and hums, pleased and distracted, and already anticipating.

“Later,” Xiao Zhan says again, meeting his eyes – and then he lets out a huff of laughter, shaking his head, infinitely fond – and it all feels normal and natural and so perfect, Yibo feels like he’s finally able to breathe again. Breathe, and laugh, and turn away, still grinning stupidly, to change into the clothes he has set aside for the show.

Later, he tells himself. Later. They’ll have time together later.

And they’re together right now.

Yibo’s stupid, stupid soul feels ridiculously happy; for this evening, at least, Yibo feels complete.

--

They leave separately – in separate cars, going separate routes, stopping at different times, different doors – to the same hotel, and by the time Xiao Zhan lets himself into the room, Yibo’s half-convinced the entire thing is an exhaustion-driven hallucination. He’s on Xiao Zhan as soon as the door clicks shut, pressing him back against it and kissing him and kissing him and kissing him – while trying to get his clothes off, hands fumbling at buttons, zippers, pushing helplessly at boxers, sliding under the layers of too-much-clothing, trying to find warmth and skin and Xiao Zhan –

Xiao Zhan, who is laughing, breathless and helpless against Yibo’s lips, pushing him back playfully – enough space to pull his clothes off without even a little care, dropping it to the ground, reaching to help Yibo out of the t-shirt and boxers, which is all Yibo’s still wearing – still laughing that beautiful, wonderful, slightly disbelieving and unbearably fond laugh he has just for Yibo – like he can’t quite believe they’re here, that Yibo wants him (he remembers that discussion too well) – like he adores Yibo as much as Yibo adores him, and suddenly, it’s all too much –

Because Xiao Zhan’s here – and Yibo finds himself clinging instead, face pressed in tight against Xiao Zhan’s neck, suddenly too overwhelmed because this is too perfect, and tomorrow – tomorrow, they’ll both say goodbye again, they’ll both get on a plane to go somewhere, and it’ll be goodbye again – and Yibo is just….

He’s so tired of goodbye.

“Bo-di?” Xiao Zhan asks, and Yibo knows he’s already sensed the change. He’s always been so in tune with Yibo, he wouldn’t have missed it – even if he could have somehow have missed the fact that Yibo’s now clinging for dear life. He feels Xiao Zhan’s hand in his hair, gentle, soft, soothing.

So perfect.

He swallows hard. “I’ve missed you so much,” he says against Xiao Zhan’s skin, and it’s not allowed, he knows – by some unspoken rule between them – it’s them, all in, all everything when they’re together, but they don’t – it’s goodbye, it’s stop when they’re apart.

That’s what makes sense.

Even if Yibo finds himself living for every message Xiao Zhan sends, every picture of his set or his cat or his stupidly beautiful face – Yibo lives for those, lives maybe just for the chance of everything when they see each other again.

He’s not supposed to say it.

“Yibo,” Xiao Zhan says, and Yibo swallows past the lump in his throat.

“I know,” he says. “I know – sorry. Just – sorry.”

Xiao Zhan laughs again, but it’s different now, more breathless, tugs lightly on Yibo’s hair and forces him to pull back enough to meet Xiao Zhan’s bright eyes. There’s a sheen there too – and Yibo’s too overwhelmed – too scared – to try to figure out what it means. He’s too scared he’s just seeing what he wants to see.

“What are you sorry for, idiot?” Xiao Zhan says, and his voice is so soft it hurts. “I’ve missed you too.”

Yibo licks his lips, eyes widening, smile tugging at the corners of his mouth; he can’t quite believe it, can’t quite wrap his head around what he’s just heard and, as if he knows, as if – as always – he can read Yibo like an open book, Xiao Zhan repeats, “I’ve missed you too. C’mon,” he adds, “bed. Let me show you how much.”

Yibo goes – he goes because how could he not – and the too-much-too-everything feeling just keeps growing as Xiao Zhan guides them both towards the bed, doesn’t let Yibo move any further away, keeps hold of him close and warm and gentle – and it’s too much – so much like the character bleed he used to get – edges of Lan Wangji’s love, too big and too much for someone like Yibo to possibly be able to portray just for the camera.

It had burned its way into his life, into his need, into his desires – he’d needed Xiao Zhan then, needed his Wei Ying – needed just to be close, to know where he was, what he was doing – needed Xiao Zhan’s attention all on him, needed to touch and hold and possess and keep and needed it all in return.

When they’d filmed scenes of loss and almost loss, of threats and pain and need, the staff had known when to leave them be – when to leave them in each other’s arms. Sometimes, it’d be Xiao Zhan and Wei Ying’s pain, too much to bear alone, and Yibo would hold him with fierce, protective care, promising their happy ending until enough of Xiao Zhan’s need had bled over, enough for them to carry Wei Wuxian’s burdens together. Sometimes, it was Yibo crying the tears Lan Wangji could not, drowning in his fear and need and so much love, Yibo sometimes thought his heart might stop, and then it was Xiao Zhan holding him, secure and safe and comforting, letting him fall apart, helping put him together again.

They’d bled into, around, with each other then – and there is no explanation for why it feels so much like that now.

There are no characters to blame it on – just Wang Yibo and Xiao Zhan – and so much need and fear and love that Yibo feels like he’s drowning.

This time, he cannot claim it is Lan Wangji’s love for Wei Wuxian – they got them there, to the mountain top, to a smile sweeter than anything else in Yibo’s world, to a love that will last more than a lifetime – to their happy ending with the people that love them the most. He’s watched Wei Wuxian’s final smile so many times since the series ended – watched the ending, the promise of more than just beginning – the completion and love and relief and need – and known Lan Wangji was – and will always be – on the receiving side of that smile.

And Yibo realises abruptly that he wants to be on the receiving side of a smile like that – of that smile from that person. Not Lan Wangji, who has every single piece of Wei Ying’s heart – but Wang Yibo, seeing that same love, that same promise – that same happy ending – in Xiao Zhan’s eyes.

Yibo lets out a pained sound at the realisation, surging up to kiss Xiao Zhan hard, trying to stifle the thought, to bury it again, the way he’s done before – in satisfying himself with what Xiao Zhan will give him, will let him take – in what they have and not what they wish they had.

He wants everything but Yibo will take whatever Zhan-ge will give him – which is everything in this moment – and it’ll be enough. Yibo will ration his memories, will take it out day by day, tiding him over until next time and next time and next time – and it’ll be enough because anything is worth being Zhan-ge’s everything, even if it’s only for tonight.

Yibo will relive it again and again for tens, hundreds, thousands more nights – and, if nothing else, he will make sure Xiao Zhan remembers it for a few more too. He wants, more than anything, for Xiao Zhan to remember – to not forget – at the very least, how good they were, how good they are – how good Yibo is for him – for Xiao Zhan to remember that the next time he’s with –

Yibo bites down with a soft whimper of pain at the thought, elicits the same noise from Xiao Zhan’s throat, and Xiao Zhan tugs at his hair again, breaks the kiss, panting, lower lip already swelling from Yibo’s nip.

“Yibo, what – “

Yibo pushes in for another kiss and Xiao Zhan, this time, doesn’t manage to brace himself in time and ends up flat on his back on the bed, Yibo’s on top of him, pressing him down. Xiao Zhan lets out another soft noise, higher, more desperate, as Yibo rolls his hips, shifts so Xiao Zhan’s cock slides along his arse – and Yibo breaks the kiss to drop his mouth to Xiao Zhan’s Adam’s apple again – this time, letting Xiao Zhan’s moan reverberate around the room as he sucks – enough to be felt, not enough to mark.

But now that he’s thinking about it, he trails kisses down further, trails his mouth over Xiao Zhan’s shoulder, far enough along that he knows a t-shirt will hide it, and Yibo bites, holds Xiao Zhan down when he bucks up with a loud, helpless cry – hands clutching at Yibo’s hair, keeping him right there where Yibo is sucking, leaving a mark that will last for days.

“Yibo,” Xiao Zhan pants, trembling, fingers going from gripping to carding through Yibo’s hair as Yibo eases off, blowing a puff of cold air against hot, wet skin. “Yibo.”

Yibo looks at him, and god, he’s a sight, spread out on the bed, eyes dark, lips swollen – he already looks half-wrecked and Yibo just – Yibo loves him so much.

Something must show on his face because Xiao Zhan says, “Bo-di,” soft and gentle – pushes himself back up to a sitting position but doesn’t dislodge Yibo, pulls him in closer instead, settles them against each other more comfortably, and Yibo wants to cry at how well they fit. “What’s wrong?”

Yibo shakes his head. “Nothing,” he says, but he can read the skeptical expression on Xiao Zhan’s face, knows even before he says anything at all that Zhan-ge doesn’t believe him. “Nothing,” he insists. “Nothing’s wrong. What could be wrong?”

“Wang Yibo,” Xiao Zhan says, soft and patient and unbearably gentle, and he touches Yibo exactly the same way, cups his face and trails his thumb over Yibo’s cheek. “I know you.”

And he does, that’s the truth of it. He does know Yibo – knows him like very few, if any, other people do.

And Yibo loves him so, so much. And he’s so tired of saying goodbye.

Yibo looks down, feels emotions trembling at the edges of his self-control, tries to push them back – he keeps his eyes down because he doesn’t think he can resist if Xiao Zhan asks him again. Xiao Zhan, predictably, doesn’t let him stay like that for long, coaxes him back up with a soft kiss. “Bo-di, tell me.”

Yibo huffs out a breath and says, “I’m tired of saying goodbye,” because it’s half the truth, and it’s probably the least scary part of it.

Xiao Zhan swallows, and Yibo just knows he’s thinking, “oh Yibo’s so young,” even though Yibo’s been in the business longer than he has and Yibo knows what the industry is like, but he can just see the thoughts in Xiao Zhan’s eyes.

“Yibo,” Xiao Zhan says, and Yibo has never known anyone who can put so much into just his name. This time, it says I know, and I’m sorry and don’t be ridiculous – and Yibo knows they have to be elsewhere tomorrow – different parts of China that might as well be different worlds for all they can be together – but… but it’s not the goodbye Yibo means.

Maybe he should let it go – but there’s that little “he’s so young” that Yibo can still see in Xiao Zhan’s eyes and he can’t take it. He doesn’t want to be seen as young – not like this.

“I know,” he says, before he can stop himself. He can hear the edge in his own voice, and judging by the way Xiao Zhan tenses under him, Xiao Zhan hears it too. “That you have to be somewhere tomorrow. I know we both do. It isn’t summer anymore – not this past summer, not last summer. I know.”

Xiao Zhan runs his hand down Yibo’s back, like he’s trying to soothe an angry cat, like he’s trying to apologise – and Yibo feels horribly close to tears again because the touch almost feels like pity.

He doesn’t want Xiao Zhan’s pity. He wants Xiao Zhan to love him.

“But you don’t want to anyway,” Xiao Zhan says. “I know. I don’t either.”

“No,” Yibo finally bursts out, and it comes out louder and wetter than he’d wanted it to. “No, you don’t know. You don’t know.”

Xiao Zhan is definitely taken aback, definitely surprised, definitely unsure of how to proceed – how to touch him, talk to him, hold him, and Yibo hates the hesitation he can feel radiating off Xiao Zhan. They haven’t hesitated around each other in forever.

He covers his face with his hands. “You don’t know.”

“So tell me,” Xiao Zhan says finally. “Sweetheart – Bo-di – you’re scaring me.”

Yibo swallows hard, but he just doesn’t know how to say it. Instead, he asks, voice small, even though he’s trying, and failing, to keep it casual, “Is it this hard with everyone else?”

Xiao Zhan goes still. “Everyone else who?”

“Everyone else you fuck,” Yibo says, and he tries to keep the blazing jealousy, the hopelessness, the biting anger from his voice.

Xiao Zhan stops breathing – and then, very slowly, he says, “Is it for you?”

And Yibo can’t help it, he lets out a wet laugh, still covering his face with his hands because he’s fucking crying, and that’s the last thing Xiao Zhan needs to see. He already thinks Yibo’s basically a child, and – and –

“Is it for me,” he repeats, and laughs again, soft and bitter, and suddenly, he’s abruptly aware they’re naked – and this isn’t a conversation he thinks he can have naked, in Xiao Zhan’s arms – talking about Xiao Zhan and how he takes care of people, and how he loves people, and how he’s probably doing for people who are not Yibo those very same things he’s done for Yibo so effectively in the past.

He needs to put something on.

But before he can move – as soon as he shifts to slide away, Xiao Zhan grabs his wrist, hauls him back in close.

“Yibo,” he says, his voice strained. “What does that mean?” It’s the desperation that Yibo hears in Xiao Zhan’s voice that finally makes him drop his hands and look at him, ignores the gasp Xiao Zhan lets out at his tears, is too intent on trying to figure out what he’s hearing form Xiao Zhan to even notice the thumb against his cheek, brushing the tears away gently. “What does that mean?” he asks again, now that he has Yibo’s full attention.

Yibo swallows hard. “What everyone else?” he says with a self-conscious curl of his lips. “There isn’t anyone else. There’s never been anyone else.” And there wouldn’t be, if Yibo’s honest with himself, for the foreseeable future because no one makes him feel quite like Xiao Zhan does, and if that’s his point of reference, no one will ever compare.

Xiao Zhan looks devastated, and Yibo has to look away. He tries to pull back again, tries to get up, thinks maybe, it’s about time he found some clothes and maybe the door – but Xiao Zhan’s grip tightens, and Yibo just…stops trying. There’s nowhere to go anyway.

There’s nowhere to hide – and there’s probably nothing left to hide either. Might as well give it all up to Xiao Zhan, let him process it and pity him all at once rather than prolonging it – because Xiao Zhan will – he’ll feel bad and guilty and all kinds of things because he’s that sort of person, and he cares so much for Yibo, he’ll feel bad he’s caused Yibo any pain – but it’s not like there’s anything Xiao Zhan can do to change how wonderful he is, which is exactly why Yibo fell so hard.

Maybe if Xiao Zhan lets him down easy, he’ll finally think about moving on.

Yibo closes his eyes. “I love you,” he says, and he waits for the reaction, bracing himself.

He doesn’t expect the soft, shaking hands that cup his face, or the soft kisses pressed to his closed eyelids, or the murmured, “shit, shit – we’re so stupid. I’m so stupid. Open your eyes, Bo-di,” that comes out in Xiao Zhan’s trembling voice. “Please.”

So Yibo opens his eyes, and finds Xiao Zhan looking at him, his own eyes bright with tears – but there’s a soft, ridiculously fond smile on his lips and Yibo feels his heart – very tentatively – lift just a little.

Once Xiao Zhan’s sure he has Yibo’s attention, he says, “I love you too.”

There’s a moment of absolute silence, absolutely stillness – and then Yibo’s heart soars. He searches Xiao Zhan’s face even though he knows – he knows – Zhan-ge would never play with him like this, wouldn’t say it if he didn’t mean it – but it feels too good to be true, and Yibo can barely process the idea that Xiao Zhan loves him too.

His lips tug up into a helpless, happy smile – sees the answering one trembling on Xiao Zhan’s lips – and then presses them together, kissing him hard and messy, more smiling into each other’s grins than actually kissing. Yibo laughs, happiness overflowing, laughing louder when Xiao Zhan flips them over on the bed, presses Yibo into the mattress and shuts him up by kissing him.

“There,” Xiao Zhan says when he pulls back, and Yibo is still grinning stupidly up at him. Xiao Zhan’s expression is warm, open, satisfied, and he leans in to kiss the corner of Yibo’s smile. “That’s much better.”

“What is?” Yibo asks, distracted by the kiss, distracting himself further by sliding his hand up into Xiao Zhan’s hair, pulling him down into another one – properly, this time.

“My smile’s back,” Xiao Zhan says against Yibo’s lips. He kisses him again, swift and sure, not letting Yibo have time to deepen it before pulling back, running light fingers over his mouth instead. “This smile. The one that’s all for me.” He traces the shape of Yibo’s lips with his finger, smiles down at him – and that smile – that one is all Yibo’s.

“I wondered,” Xiao Zhan admits quietly, “if you gave it to your other – “ Xiao Zhan can’t seem to say the word, swallows lovers down and just shakes his head instead, looking a little guilty, a little embarrassed, and Yibo wants to wipe that from his face, leave only pleasure there, only happiness, so he sucks the tip of Xiao Zhan’s finger into his mouth, watches the way Xiao Zhan’s eyes flutter closed, watches his breath catch on a sound.

“No other lovers,” Yibo repeats, biting at the tip of that finger. “Only you. There’s only ever been you.”

Xiao Zhan’s smile flashes into existence, brighter than the sun, and god, it makes Yibo’s heart flip, makes his breath catch, makes him feel dizzy with the pleasure of it – like he’s won the goddamn life lottery because he has this wonderful, incredible, beautiful man smiling at him like this. He’d do so much, endure so much, just so Xiao Zhan never stops smiling at him.

He isn’t in the least bit surprised that he felt so close to and so much bleed from Lan Wangji – this brightness in his life that is Wei Wuxian and his smiles – but this time, this time, it’s all Xiao Zhan and it’s all for Yibo.

But he understands the love, understands the need to be close to brightness, the desire to have and hold and keep and protect with every fiber of his being – now that it’s in his life – that it walked into his life, unsuspected and unsuspecting, almost two years ago in a dining room – Yibo cannot imagine ever, ever being without.

“To answer your question,” Xiao Zhan says, dropping down to his forearms so he can more conveniently kiss Yibo’s lips. Yibo doesn’t tell him he’s already forgotten what the question even was. “It’s never this hard with everyone else.”

Ah. That question. Before he can think too hard on the everyone else, Xiao Zhan continues, “Because there isn’t an everyone else. I tried – once or twice – after,” he admits, but he kisses Yibo before he can even think about any sort of emotion related to that statement, “but I think you’ve ruined me for anyone else.”

Yibo lets out a delighted laugh, but squirms when Xiao Zhan kisses his forehead, his cheek, his nose. He’s still laughing, and Xiao Zhan pins him down and kisses him on the mouth again, harder, deeper, slower, and Yibo stills, then he arches up, presses them together skin to skin, lets himself feel the reality of Xiao Zhan against him.

Xiao Zhan. Who loves him.

“Good,” he whispers, when they break for air, pulls back just enough to see Xiao Zhan’s face, brush his thumb over his lips, over where he’d nipped him earlier – presses against the swelling there, just a little – feels the possessiveness rise inside him when Xiao Zhan’s eyes flutter, lips parting, yielding to Yibo’s touch. “I hate thinking about you with anyone else.”

“Then don’t.” Xiao Zhan sucks the tip of Yibo’s thumb into his mouth, tilts his head and slides his tongue over the head as he takes it deeper. Yibo doesn’t fight the urge to press down his thumb down against that soft tongue, press a little deeper into that heat as Xiao Zhan hollows out his cheek and sucks, opening his eyes to look right at Yibo.

Yibo swallows a choked sound, feels the effects of that look shoot right down to his dick. “Fuck,” he says, twisting his hand a little so he can curl his fingers under Xiao Zhan’s chin. “You are so beautiful. I want to wreck you.” Even if it’s Yibo’s voice that sounds absolutely wrecked.

Xiao Zhan releases his thumb with a soft pop. “Then wreck me,” he says, and Yibo uses the grip on his chin to pull him into another bruising kiss, flips them back over so Xiao Zhan’s under him again – and kisses him, hard and demanding and possessive.

“Lube and condoms,” Xiao Zhan breaks the kiss to pant up at him. “In my bag.” At Yibo’s look – whatever Xiao Zhan is reading in it – probably Yibo’s barely concealed jealousy – he explains, “Don’t even. I packed it hoping you’d be interested in conquering me instead of the world tonight.”

Yibo licks his lips. “Fuck, yes. Why the fuck wouldn’t I be?”

Xiao Zhan laughs, arches slowly up to press against Yibo – and the movement is so distracting Yibo loses his train of thought. The only thing on his mind is finding that lube and those condoms. He steals one more kiss and moves to rummage through Xiao Zhan’s bag, throwing the supplies on the bed beside Xiao Zhan and – just has to stop for a moment and take in the sight before him.

Xiao Zhan meets his eyes and lets out a soft laugh, stretching, slow and luxurious – and he’s so flawless Yibo wants to weep – from that smile, to the legs that go on for days that Yibo really wants wrapped around his head and his waist and anywhere else Xiao Zhan wants to wrap them, and when Xiao Zhan bends them and spreads his legs in blatant invitation Yibo’s mouth goes dry. He drags his eyes back up to Xiao Zhan’s face, finds invitation there too – and hiding behind that, edges of insecurity – like he doesn’t know he’s the most perfect person in the entire world. Yibo knows he’s biased, but he’s also pretty sure most of the world would agree with him – and they haven’t even seen this.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time looking at each other through a screen, Yibo,” Xiao Zhan says when Yibo doesn’t move. “Come here and touch me already.”

When Yibo still doesn’t move – and it takes all of his willpower to not dive right back into kissing Xiao Zhan, but god, he just wants to look at him for a few moments longer – look at him and marvel that this – this beautiful, magical person wants him this much – Xiao Zhan lets out another soft laugh, shifts to reach for the lube, arches his back a little more deliberately.

And then he presses one slicked finger against his entrance, makes a soft, stuttering sound in his throat – and there is no willpower on Earth that can keep Yibo away.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Yibo swears, climbing back onto the bed and leaning in to kiss the next sound straight from Xiao Zhan’s mouth, hand going down to trace around Xiao Zhan’s finger, right where he’s pushed into himself – and he can’t help it – he just lets the very tip of his finger breech in beside Xiao Zhan’s, careful despite the need driving him – just a little, just a stretch, enough to elicit a louder, needier moan. “You are such a tease,” Yibo says, pulling his finger back just to rub around Xiao Zhan’s entrance.

“Not a tease,” Xiao Zhan argues, “if I put out. And if you get some lube on your fingers, I’m going to put out.”

Yibo gets lube on his fingers in a hurry. Xiao Zhan slides his own finger out, and Yibo replaces it with his, a slow, careful push, and Xiao Zhan lets out a noise of utter satisfaction.

“Yes,” he breathes, arching, body clenching around Yibo’s finger – and Yibo feels that sound all the way down to his toes. “Your fingers are bigger than mine. Better. My imagination never gets this part right. Oh fuck – “ The words trail off into a high whine because that – that comment – makes Yibo’s hand slip as he curses, makes him press in deeper without conscious thought because – because – Xiao Zhan just –

“You think about me when you’re fingering yourself open?” Yibo says, freezing at the cry, stilling so he can let Xiao Zhan adjust.

“Of course, I do,” Xiao Zhan pants, rolls his hips into Yibo’s hand, rocks in small movements. “Don’t stop.” So Yibo doesn’t, and Xiao Zhan lets out a sigh of pleasure as Yibo works him open, adds a second finger, which makes Xiao Zhan moan louder. “I even went and ordered toys – bigger, fuller – and still couldn’t quite recall how you felt inside me. It’s been driving me insane –

Shut up,” Yibo hisses, reaching out with his free hand to slap it over Xiao Zhan’s mouth as he presses both fingers into him, as far as he can. “Shut up or I’m going to come before I can fuck you, and you’re going to have to keep imagining.”

Xiao Zhan starts laughing and, within moments, Yibo’s laughing as well, and the position is a little awkward for kissing, but there’s absolutely no way Yibo can’t not kiss Xiao Zhan’s smile.

“You’re twenty-two,” Xiao Zhan says, rocking on Yibo’s fingers again as if to remind him to get on with it. “You’d get hard again. Reckon you could fuck me at least twice before you leave tomorrow. You promised to wreck me.” The look on Xiao Zhan’s eyes is all challenge and heat, and Yibo takes a steadying breath – presses in and crooks his finger, finds Xiao Zhan’s prostate on the second try – startles him into another louder, more desperate moan.

“Stop it,” he says, still rubbing at that spot inside him. “Or I’ll finger you until you cry.” Which is…not exactly a threat.

“One day,” Xiao Zhan says, and Yibo knows he’s in trouble by the slightly glazed look in Xiao Zhan’s eyes, the breathlessness of his voice, “When we have time. One day. I want your whole hand in me.”

Yibo stops breathing.

“Finger by finger,” Xiao Zhan continues, and Yibo has to remember to take a breath, remember to move his hand, remember to pull back and, as Xiao Zhan repeats, “finger by finger,” slide in a third finger to the beautiful sound Xiao Zhan’s words being cut off by a moan. “Until – your whole hand.”

Yibo swallows hard, keeping his hand still, three fingers just resting inside Xiao Zhan, letting his body adjust. Xiao Zhan is already so tight around him, so tight around three fingers – Yibo can’t even imagine how he’d fit his whole hand in there – but now that Xiao Zhan’s painted the image in his head, Yibo can’t stop thinking about it.

“You’d trust me that much?” he asks instead, shaky.

“With anything,” Xiao Zhan says, opening his eyes to look up at Yibo, and Yibo feels completely and utterly pinned by the look in Xiao Zhan’s eyes. “With everything.”

“When we have time,” Yibo promises, because there is absolutely nothing else in the world he can or wants to do but promise Xiao Zhan anything he wants. When they have time – and when Yibo’s done his research.

“For now,” Xiao Zhan says, and he squeezes pointedly around Yibo’s fingers, shifts so he can slide those impossibly long legs up the back of Yibo’s, rolls his hips suggestively against him as much as he can with Yibo three fingers knuckle deep – feels like he takes those fingers in impossibly deeper. “Fuck me. I want your cock in me – want you to fuck me so hard I’ll feel you every time I move.”

“Fuck,” Yibo breathes, and twists his fingers inside Xiao Zhan just to keep him quiet for a few more moments – quiet and still, and let Yibo work him open because it’s been too long, and Yibo wants this too much – but Yibo won’t hurt Xiao Zhan, but he also won’t last if Xiao Zhan keeps talking like this. It has Xiao Zhan moaning instead, and it really is one of the most intensely erotic sounds Yibo has ever – ever – heard in his life. “If the world knew this side of you….” He lets out a soft laugh. “They’d never look away again.”

Just as Yibo had never looked away again.

“They’ll never know,” Xiao Zhan promises, shifting so he can wrap both legs around Yibo and tug him closer – uses the momentum to roll them back over on the bed so he’s straddling Yibo – and the position makes it too awkward to keep his fingers inside, and they slide out of the warm, tight heat of Xiao Zhan’s body – but Xiao Zhan is already kissing him, already unwrapping a condom and sliding it down over his cock, slowly, hands hot and sure and steady. “Just us.”

Xiao Zhan reaches for the lube and liberally covers Yibo’s cock, stroking in slow, rhythmic strokes, and Yibo lets out a low whine as he gets impossibly harder, one hand reaching out to stop him. “Seriously,” he says with a laugh. “I don’t want to come before I get to fuck you or reality is going to be a hell of a lot less fulfilling than your imagination.”

There is, embarrassingly, a trace of anxiousness there as well. A trace of his own insecurity. He wants to be good for Xiao Zhan – he wants to not disappoint, but maybe distance and tine and…maybe.

Xiao Zhan laughs, turns his hand so he catches Yibo’s and holds on tight. “Don’t be stupid,” he says, but his voice is gentle, soothing – and so, so fond. “This is already better than my imagination.” He glances down, biting his lip, stroking a hand lightly over Yibo’s cock again – and Yibo is about to protest, but stops himself because this isn’t Xiao Zhan teasing. He’s worrying his lower lip, hesitating, not meeting Yibo’s eyes.

“What?” Yibo asks, catching Xiao Zhan’s hand and squeezing again.

“Next time,” Xiao Zhan finally says in a rush, “let’s – I don’t – let’s not use condoms.” Whatever Yibo was expecting Xiao Zhan to say, it’s definitely not that. At his silence, Xiao Zhan glances up at him through his lashes, nervous and uncertain – and that is definitely, definitely not okay. Yibo doesn’t want him uncertain about anything.

“Okay,” he says. He moves them so he can get his arm around Xiao Zhan again, trace light fingers over his entrance, check that he’s still open, that there’s enough lube, that Yibo won’t hurt him.

Xiao Zhan lets out a soft moan. “You get what that means, right?” Xiao Zhan asks, and Yibo rolls his eyes, presses three fingers back into him and gets a startled yelp in reply.

“Yes, I get what that means.” He works them in a little deeper, twists them again – wants to make sure he won’t hurt Xiao Zhan. “No one else. I’m not that clueless.”

“You’re twenty-two,” Xiao Zhan says. “Are you sur – oh fuck- “ The word ends up drawn out, fading into a moan of pure pleasure as Yibo pushes his fingers in deep.

“I’m absolutely sure. You’re all I want.”

“Then show me,” Xiao Zhan moans, gripping his cock and moving, pushing up on his knees, reaching back to remove Yibo’s fingers and replace them with Yibo’s cock instead, sinking down before Yibo’s even had time to shift his own grip on Xiao Zhan to support him. His hand ends up plastered to Xiao Zhan’s hips as he sinks down onto Yibo’s cock, and they’re moaning in harmony, in soft symphony, and Yibo knows – he just knows – he’ll never regret that promise because what he’d said was the absolute and honest truth. There’s no one else.

Just Xiao Zhan – his beautiful Zhan-ge, who fits against him, with him, in him and around him, like a dream.

Xiao Zhan arches, head tipping back, baring his throat, his incredible body – his everything – to Yibo’s mouth. Yibo takes the blatant invitation, drops his head to kiss his way down his throat, duck down further to take a nipple in his mouth, rolling his tongue over it to draw a sharper, needier moan from Xiao Zhan. Yibo moves his hand up to support Xiao Zhan’s neck, the other to the small of his back – supporting and checking and holding even as pleasure explodes across all his senses when Xiao Zhan slowly rocks his hips.

They stay like that for a few more rolls of Xiao Zhan’s hips, Xiao Zhan’s entire body shaking with pleasure, Yibo’s with barely there restraint, rocking with him in a small movements, breath coming shorter and shorter, letting Xiao Zhan adjust, letting them both just feel each other, locked in together.

“You feel so good,” Xiao Zhan breathes, rolling his hips in a helpless little movement again, whining in his throat as Yibo lets out a soft sound of his own. “You feel so perfect. Feel so full, so good. God – Yibo – I need - ”

“Yes.” Whatever it is, yes. Yibo swallows a curse as Xiao Zhan gets his knees under him and pushes himself up – just enough so he can drop down again, grinning at Yibo as he finds a rhythm, fucks himself on Yibo’s cock – and the sight, the feeling, all the sensations together shred whatever’s left of Yibo’s control. Yibo fucks up into him, hips thrusting upwards hard as Xiao Zhan sinks down again – earns him a loud and satisfied moan of pleasure that Yibo echoes – and they find their rhythm, building it together as pleasure builds between them – as Xiao Zhan’s hand ends up scratching long lines down Yibo’s back, one fisted in his hair, and Yibo’s gripping Xiao Zhan’s hips so hard there will be marks in the morning, and it’s all they care about – being together, each other, rocking together and thrusting and pushing-pulling, moaning louder.

Yibo finally rolls Xiao Zhan back onto the bed, resettles him and pushes back in, less deep – but far more control, far more ability to shift them both until he finds the exact spot he wants – thrusts hitting Xiao Zhan’s prostate and making him cry out, entire body spasming with pleasure around Yibo’s cock, under Yibo’s own body, legs tightening around Yibo’s waist – crying out again and again and again, wordless and overwhelmed – cries that turn into a wail of pleasure that trails into breathless, almost soundless panting need when Yibo wraps his hand around Xiao Zhan’s cock and strokes him in time with his thrusts.

Yibo’s only warning is that tiny, choked sound Xiao Zhan makes when he’s gone non-verbal, pleasure obliterating everything, and he’s about to come – the soft, breathless little gasp as his body goes still before he drops over the edge into his climax – a sound that Yibo’s become so familiar with he can recall it almost perfectly when he jerks off at night – and Yibo fucks him through it, strokes him through it, leans in and kisses him through it. It only takes Yibo a few more thrusts – Xiao Zhan’s body clenching around him, shaking as he comes down from his high, pliant and open and welcoming – and Yibo follows over that edge, coming with a low moan that he presses into Xiao Zhan’s skin.

He keeps his lips pressed against Xiao Zhan’s rapidly beating pulse, feels every breath Xiao Zhan takes, uses those breaths to start steadying his own, start slowly – slowly and happily – coming down from that high. He strokes Xiao Zhan’s side softly, tries to shift so his weight isn’t completely crushing Xiao Zhan, but only finds Zhan-ge’s arms tightening around him, holding him still, keeping him there.

So they stay there, just breathing each other in, until they’re both recovered enough to try to move again.

He pushes back a little, looks down to find Xiao Zhan, looking absolutely blissed out, smiling up at him, and never mind any and all the awards he won tonight – this – this is the only thing in the world worth winning.

He feels like he could do anything.

“Hello,” he says, and Xiao Zhan lets out a soft laugh, pulls him down into a soft, sweet kiss.

“Hi yourself.”

He bites at Xiao Zhan’s lower lip, trying to bit back his own grin. “Zhan-ge,” he says, “didi loves you.” And even though he’d meant it then, when he’d been mostly riling Xiao Zhan up, hiding his real feelings behind every teasing remark, he means it even more now.

“Bleh,” Xiao Zhan says, sticking out his tongue and making the same face he’d done then – but this time, it melts into a helpless little laugh. “You’re impossible.”

“Ah, but isn’t that the Jiang sect’s motto?” Xiao Zhan stares at him. Yibo lets that sit in silence a moment before he says, “To do the impossible? Well, I guess the impossible did you….”

He yelps when Xiao Zhan hits him.

“I hate you,” Xiao Zhan says, and Yibo counters him with a grinning, “You do not.”

“No,” Xiao Zhan says with a smile, pulling him down into another soft, warm kiss. “I don’t.”

“You love me,” Yibo says, and it’s still so surreal. Maybe if he says it enough times, if Xiao Zhan helps him and says it enough times, Yibo will believe it’s real.

“I love you,” Xiao Zhan agrees, and Yibo actually has to duck his head to hide how wide his grin is. He can feel his ears going red. He’s not sure he’ll ever get used to hearing that – but he’s hoping he’ll have a long, long time to try.

Xiao Zhan pushes up to kiss him softly. “Shower with me?”

“Yes,” Yibo says immediately and, very slowly, very carefully, moves to pull out, careful of the condom. Xiao Zhan lets out a quiet sound of displeasure, and Yibo brushes a light, careful thumb over his entrance, earning a soft hiss.

“I always feel so empty afterwards,” Xiao Zhan says with a soft sigh, stretching out on the bed before he pushes himself up to sit, wincing only slightly. Yibo winces too, opens his mouth to say something but Xiao Zhan interrupts him, “Don’t. Nothing hurts, sweetheart. I’m fine. Just old and exhausted.”

Yibo snorts and leans in for another soft kiss, pulling Xiao Zhan close. “Shower,” he says softly. “And I promise, when we do this without a condom, I’ll lick you clean.”

Yibo hears Xiao Zhan swear, feels his cock give a small twitch against his stomach where Xiao Zhan is pressed against him, and grins.

“You,” Xiao Zhan says, “are a monster.”

Yibo beams at him. “And you love me for it.” Nope. Still an amazing feeling. Still can’t quite believe it. The impact of being able to say that and actually mean it – mean it mean it and not just mean it in a “you love me as a friend who’s so close we’re practically family” sort of way.

“Is that going to be your new comeback for everything?” Xiao Zhan asks. He finally moves again, tugs Yibo out of bed. He presses in against him, stretching like a cat, letting every movement press skin against skin. Yibo obligingly slides his hands down his sides, over his arse, touches him everywhere he can reach. He fits his hands to Xiao Zhan’s hips, fits them against the bruises he’s already left there.

“Are you going to distract me like this every time?” Yibo asks back because he doesn’t remember the question. Xiao Zhan is very distracting.

Xiao Zhan laughs again. “Would it work?”

“Yes,” Yibo says honestly. “Fuck, you’re so beautiful. How are you so beautiful?” How has he, in all the months they fucked regularly, in all the time that’s passed since then – how has Yibo not at least gotten a little used to Xiao Zhan’s beauty? He should have developed some immunity by now – but he hasn’t. Every single time, he’s still completely stunned by it.

Xiao Zhan laughs his shy, embarrassed, bashful laugh that makes Yibo want to move mountains for him, shaking his head, and Yibo sees a blush starting to spread across his cheek. “You’re so ridiculous. Go look in a mirror, Bo-di. You’re the one who’s fucking perfect.”

Yibo kisses him, and then turns him around, wrapping his arms around Xiao Zhan from behind him, hooking his chin over his shoulder so they can both look at the mirror there, see their reflections looking back at them.

“Looking,” Yibo says. “And I still just see how beautiful you are.” Even more so now, Yibo thinks, impossible as that might seem. Xiao Zhan looks freshly fucked, covered in marks, and wrapped up in Yibo’s arms – and he’s looking at Yibo with one of those impossibly fond expressions that make Yibo’s soul feel warm. He radiates happiness.

I did that, Yibo thinks, and turns his face to kiss Xiao Zhan’s jaw softly. A moment later, Xiao Zhan turns to meet his lips with his own.

“Then keep looking at me,” Xiao Zhan says against his lips. He moves his hands to thread his fingers through Yibo’s, squeezing softly. “Don’t look away.”

“I won’t,” Yibo promises, squeezing back. “I don’t need to. Everything I want is right here.”

--

When Yibo kisses Xiao Zhan goodbye, Xiao Zhan is wearing the oversized shirt Yibo put on this morning to bring in their breakfast. He looks impossibly soft, impossibly adorable in it, and Yibo’s not sure if it’s harder to leave him while he’s wearing Yibo’s shirt or when he’d been naked.

A second kiss, and Yibo is pretty certain it doesn’t actually matter what Xiao Zhan’s wearing or not wearing; it’s always going to be difficult to say goodbye.

At least, this time, it’s not really goodbye.

“See you soon,” Xiao Zhan says, shifting to press up into a third kiss. “Call me when you land.”

“I will,” Yibo says, and kisses Xiao Zhan again because he can, letting it linger, presses into one more kiss because he can’t quite bring himself to pull away just yet. Xiao Zhan wraps his arms around him, and Yibo tucks his face into his neck, just breathing him in for a few more moments, before he pulls back, brushes his lips over Xiao Zhan’s one last time. “I love you,” he says, and pulls away – only to be reeled back in for another, hotter, deeper kiss.

“I love you too,” Xiao Zhan says against his mouth, and then takes a very determined step backwards. He gives Yibo a slightly watery smile – and no – absolutely not. If Xiao Zhan starts crying, Yibo’s going to as well.

“I’ll call you when I’m in the car,” Yibo says. “And I’ll see you really, really soon.”

“I know,” Xiao Zhan says with a soft laugh. “Go. You’ll miss your flight, and then we’ll both be in trouble.”

“I’m already in trouble,” Yibo says, and blows Xiao Zhan a kiss – watches him catch it with a laugh, and a mini heart thrown back in his direction, and Yibo leaves.

He pulls a mask on to hide his stupidly wide and stupidly uncontrollable grin, and tucks his hand into the pocket of his boyfriend’s hoodie, brushing light fingers over the phone there – completely and utterly unsurprised to feel it vibrate under his touch.

When he pulls it out to look at it in the car, it’s from Xiao Zhan. It’s just a ridiculous little selfie – all smiles, a wink and a mini heart – and Yibo’s entire being feels lighter than air and brighter than the sun.

I miss you already, he sends back, and gets an explosion of hearts in reply. He grins, gives into the urge to be ridiculous about this, and video calls Xiao Zhan. Zhan-ge is already laughing when he picks up.

“Miss me that much?” he asks.

And Yibo knows the conversation, this time – and next time, and the time after – isn’t going to end with goodbye.

It’s not going to end at all.